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Thursday, 21 May 1970

Mr HURFORD (Adelaide) - I must record my disappointment, indeed my resentment, at what has happened in relation to this Bill tonight. International liquidity is one of the most important subjects. It relates to the standard of living that we enjoy. It is important for the amount of trade that this nation can secure and, indeed, for the trade that other nations are going to be able to partake in. Trade, as most of us know, affects the standard of living of people in Australia as well as in other countries. Yet this Bill has been brought forward without prior warning. It was not listed on todays programme, and on the actual notice paper it was listed as Order of the day No. 21. It involves a subject that requires a fair amount of study - study that many of us should be undertaking in depth.

The first document to which we turn in examining a subject like this is, of course, the second reading speech of the Treasurer (Mr Bury). I think I can repeat the sort of criticisms made by the honourable member for Bradfield (Mr Turner) last night about the Australian Industry Development Corporation Bill. Although the second reading speech of the Minister is quite adequate concerning the small point of raising the amount to be contributed by Australia to increase international liquidity it is quite inadequate in relation to the understanding of this House of the sort of crises that there have been in international liquidity in recent years. I am sure that most honourable members, even though they may not take an interest in these economic affairs, will be aware that there have been crises in earlier years in respect of the £Stg. Fortunately for Britain it has had a government which has got to the root causes of this, and Britain is now enjoying balance of payments surpluses which have put that country in a far different situation from that which it was in when Mr Wilson took over. But, of course there have been crises also in France. To the other extent there have been surpluses in Germany where subsequently the Deutschemark has been revalued. That, in itself, has had a tremendously worthwhile effect on the whole international liquidity of the world. These are the sorts of subjects about which this Parliament ought to be served information such as the information which is given in the White Papers that come down in other parliaments. 1 do not pretend to be an expert in this field. It is 12 years since I have had an opportunity to devote time to these affairs. As a new member of this House I should like to have had at least some sort of warning that this Bill was to come before the House. I shall not detain the House any longer. I thought several speakers were listed but I suppose that they were caught in the same way as the honourable member for Melbourne Ports (Mr Crean) and, indeed, the honourable member for Mitchell (Mr Irwin) admitted they were caught.

Mr King - It has been on the notice paper for 2 months.

Mr HURFORD - Yes. But the honourable member knows that it is listed as Order of the day No. 21 on the notice paper and it has been elevated from there. I have reason to commend what is happening throughout the world in lifting the reserves. I agree that this sum of $US41m should be contributed so as to make these greater reserves available but at the same time we should have taken the opportunity to look at the whole problem of international liquidity and to ensure that Australia makes its proper contributions in the councils of the world to make sure the world does not proceed on an ad hoc basis from one crisis to another. This contribution to the International Monetary Fund is only one way to overcome these crises when they occur. A lot more work in depth remains to be done in this field. I hope that we will have future opportunities to look at this matter. I hope that when we do we will have before us papers which will give us the necessary information to enable us to study this legislation in the way it should be studied because it is of tremendous importance to the world and ail honourable members should be interested in it.

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